tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 13, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
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expedia plus rewards. big debate tonight between alison grimes and her rival, mitch mcconnell, we're going to talk about that in just a moment. it happens just over three weeks from election day when voters head to the polls for the 2014 elections. the last furious days of the campaign have officially kicked off with big debates with the states that will decide the future of the u.s. senate. and with the control of the senate balanced on a nice edge, the campaigns are tightening. greg orman is up by three against republican senator pat roberts. and today in arkansas, tom cotton was not subtle about his campaign message. he mentioned obama 74 times in his debate. tom cotton is up by seven points. latest pull in that race has
republican ernst up by three. that's brailey with an r to those watching. tonight, at this hour, all eyes are on kentucky where democrat alison grimes is battling in a deep, deep red state against the most republican in the country, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. right now, the two are facing off in their first and only debate of the cycle. it's a big moment for grimes. and she's going to the debate with her campaign being trashed left, right and center. much of the criticism stems from the meeting with the louisville courier general's editorial last week when she refused to answer whether or not she voted for obama. >> did you vote for president obama in 2008, 2012? >> this election isn't about the president. it's about making sure we put kentuckians back to work. >> did you vote for him? >> i was a delegate for hillary clinton. i think people are kentucky know i'm a democrat through and through. i respect the sanctity of the ballot box and i know that the members of this editorial board
do, as well. >> it was a nonanswer. nbc's chuck todd "disqualified herb," something that mitch mcconnell turned into an ad. >> kentucky expects her to cast a tough vote on anything? is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything? >> so you're not going to answer? >> i'm mitch mcconnell and i approve this message. >> i think she disqualified herself. i really do. >> the republic said yesterday that grimes is running the worst senate campaign of the year. you think she'd be getting blown out. but here's the thing, she's not at all. she heads into this debate basically in a tie with mitch mcconnell in a state that barack obama lost by 23 points in 2012. what does that say about mitch mcconnell and what does it say about voters and how they feel about the powers that be in washington and the modern campaign?
your response, jess, to this not answering the question? at one level, it is preposterous. she's running as a democrat. people say who they voted for. and then it's just like she's not going to say anything that could be used in an ad. >> i think republicans are trying just as hard as they can to make this a referendum on president obama. and alison is trying just as hard to make sure that this is a referendum on the incumbent who is on the ballot, which is mitch mcconnell. so she is not going to say who she pulled the lever for in a private voting booth. and he is not -- [ laughter ] >> and he is not going to say what he wants to do to raise the minimum wage and gender discrimination in pay, whether climate change is real. why he thinks marriage is between a man and woman. >> what you just did there was a graceful pivot. i think it's the gracefulest
plotting point to talking points. >> we are not arguing whether or not a pivot was graceful enough. there are issues that actually mattered to kentucky families that she is willing to talk about and he is dodging all over the place. and that is why she has kept him as close as she has in the polls. >> the other thing, look, this is the way a modern campaign has been erected. it's kind of a video game for avoiding gaffes. and what she has done for all -- whatever people say about, oh, it's ridiculous she didn't answer this and i think her stances on coal are preposterous. i think a lot of things she said are wrong. and, yet, she has done the thing -- i love this quote in the new republic piece saying there's a reason mcconnell hasn't won one add for talking. she's winning the video game in incredibly difficult terrain. >> this is a deep, deep red state and this is the most powerful republican in the senate. people have been writing off alison grimes since before she announced.
remember she was going to get steam rolled and she was crazy to even think about taking him on. this woman has kept him below 50% and within the margin of error month after month, in poll after poll. this is not a bad campaign. this is a very good campaign, objectively. >> that raises another question about whether the modern campaign is broken. >> i am so happy to have that at times. >> it's not alison grimes, like, you know, she's got to operate in the genera she's operating in, which i understand. but i think it says something about the way we've constructed campaigns in the sort of political media complex that it is essentially advantageous to make sure nobody runs a clip of you saying anything. mark udall said something about medicare that was a completely trivial statement that's going to get spit back in his face and called a gaffe. speaks of gaffes, here's mitch mcconnell on climate change, which i think is a bigger gaffe. take a listen.
>> if climate change is a problem, and, do you believe it is or not? >> i'm not a scientist. all i can tell you is that country after country after country, given a choice between pursuing this goal and their own economic growth are choosing economic growth. >> i'm not a scientist. i think that's a gaffe. no one is going to call it a gaffe, but it's a preposterous thing to say. >> and the reason why it matters so much is because it has substantive implications for the people whose vote he is asking for. this that same interview, he said that he opposed marriage equality because he believed that marriage is between a man and woman and couldn't say why. this affects kentucky families. i feel like that is what we need to hold people accountable for. >> i agree. on substance, this new ad from which grimes attacks mitch mcconnell for voting for reagan's amnesty back in the '80s, what do you think?
>> i think she's talking -- i haven't scene the ad yet, but i think she's talking to the hip hypocrisy of mitch mcconnell. i think it's a character attack on whether he's going to stick to principles where as she will. >> yeah, all right, all right. i guess that's the best answer you can give. although, presumably, i've heard she's for immigration reform. it's hard to see how that helps come act. you're very good at this, thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> alison grimes was just one of the red states that democrats were most excited by this cycle. one of the others is wendy davis who is running for governor who, unlike grimes, is losing by some big margins. latest poll has her down by 11 points to greg abbott. in a state the president lost by almost 16 points last cycle. she decided if she's going down she's going down swinging, as evidence's by an ad she went against texas state attorney attorney general greg abbott who was hit by a tree and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
>> a free fell on greg abbott. he sued and got millions. since then, he spent his career working against other victims. greg abbott, he's not for you. >> that ad, i think understandably, got a lot of flak from across the political spectrum. but over the weekend, davis defended the message. >> the intent was to demonstrate greg abbott's hypocrisy. he rightfully had an opportunity to access the justice system when he was at the receiving end of a tragic accident. but ever since, he has been actively fighting to close that door and deny that access to others. >> again, the davis campaign was doubling down the ad. this afternoon, davis had two supporters in wheelchairs to highlight what she says is abbott hypocrisy. joining me now from austin, texas, is evan smith. this ad has gotten a lot of national attention. how is it playing in texas?
>> not a whole lot better. a lot of people on the right and some on the left are jumping at davis. not so much for the substance of the ad, but for the tactic of using the image of the empty wheelchair at the beginning of the ad, that's seen as maybe touching the third rail. not something that was particularly smart or politic for her to do. but what's gotten lost is the substance of the ad. she's been taking hits mostly for the tactic. >> yeah, and what's struck me about the ad, you can cut off the three seconds and run the next 27 seconds and it's an attack ad, but it's basically look, this guy is not siding with you, he's not helping other people. if you do that, then the natural -- the way it comes off is a little tough to stomach. >> she has been running a series
of ads that abbott is working on behalf of powerful friends and no one paid attention. if you cut off the first image of this ad, the one that's gotten all of the attention, no one would be talking about this ad. i wouldn't be here talking to you about this ad. we have entered the doug flutie phase of this campaign. it's the fourth quarter. we're in four-down territory. she's losing the game. she's got to put the ball in the end zone. that's what she's got to get done here. >> why is it the case -- a tweet said wendy davis' biggest problem is texas voters are very conservative. is that fundamentally the issue here? she's on tough territory. or is this campaign not lived up to the expectations? >> can i choose both? i think the answer is both. on the one hand, she was always pushing a big rock up a big hill in a state that's not just red, but is blood red.
any democrat has really been the underdog by a significant marken. even wendy davis going into this race was going to be the underdog. the campaign has not been executed flawlessly, and this latest thing, which you can sort of see the first three seconds of this ad being something of an unforced error. the substance of the ad notwithstanding. the tactic is an unforced error. she's done everything she possibly can to stay in this race and to be competitive. but in the end, as you said, the polls are not looking very good. t she can conceivably lose this race like bill white in 2010 which just a few months ago, would have been unthinkable. >> what does this mean for democrats? i don't want to write the obituary, we've got three weeks. >> it will only be over on election day, as the cliche goes. >> and that's a very true cliche, as we've seen time and
time again. even thought that todd akin would be the next senator from missouri. so a lot can happen down the stretch. what does it mean for democrats in texas? how central has this race been into the effort to build a stronger democratic party in texas? >> well, the reality is the battleground texas effort which was the martialling of the obama 2012 forces in texas to try to turn the state purple, if they couldn't turn it blue, at least get it closer. it was said to be a long game. so 2014 wasn't necessarily their focal point. now there are some people saying well, if we don't get wendy davis into the governor's office, this is really about 2016, its's really about hillary. the reality is there's been more talk of democrats becoming competitive than there has been any visible signs of competitiveness. on the other hand, until battleground came and until davis became the nominee, the democrats were absolutely dead in the water. it almost doesn't matter what happens in 2014, it is improvement over what we've seen for the last two years. >> in kentucky, the margin was
bigger than the presidential, but kentucky does have state-wide elected democrats. that's not true in texas, where there hasn't been a statewide elected democrat since ann richards. and has smaller margins than in the presidential. evan smith, thank you. >> thanks, chris. some good news tonight as the catholic church signals more tolerance for gay people and divorcees. that's ahead. you need to catch the 4:10 huh? the equipment tracking system will get you to the loading dock. ♪ there should be a truck leaving now. i got it. now jump off the bridge. what? in 3...2...1... are you kidding me? go. right on time. right now, over 20,000 trains are running reliably. we call that predictable. thrillingly predictable.
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big, boozy fraty tailgates at college campuses. it's the first place any tried and true campaign manager will tell you to go. but it's trickier than it looks. louisiana senator mary landrieu has been tapping the frat well with success. she got a lot of attention last month for attending a tailgate party at an lsu tailgate party. and here she is doing the wobble, a dance that resembles the electric slide at another tailgate, this time at southern university. but not every college football party/campaign appearance goes as well. as i learned from watching this video of former massachusetts senator scott brown, who is running in the granite state at
a university of new hampshire tailgate party. some of the students yelled obscenities and told him to go back to massachusetts. [ indiscernible ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]! >> scott brown! scott brown! scott brown! >> he's available, voters of new hampshire. here's the thing about campaigning at a college tailgate party. they are the youth vote, but they are the drunken college i boys saying dumb stuff. here is john kerry with a beer
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i didn't come here to give a speech. i came here to go to jail. >> professor cornel west made it very clear last night why he was in ferguson. today, he made good on that as they confronted officers in front of the ferguson police department. he was one of 42 protesters taken into custody. according to the st. louis dispatch. a protest took place in driving rain, which didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the crowd. at one point, a clergy member lied down inside of an outline of a body drawn in chalk. protesters were chanting that black lies matter, but all lies matter. tonight, protesters being arrested outside a walmart in ferguson. and as a reporter on the scene
reports, so far civil disobedience has taken part at st. louis city hall, walmart, and a fund-raiser for county executive candidate stanger, who is being hosted by claire mccaskill. today's demonstrations were a protest marking two months sense unarmed mike brown was shot and killed by police officer darren wilson, who is still drawing a paycheck. in wake of the shooting death of myers last week who was killed last week by an off-duty st. louis police officer. protests have spread all over the st. louis metro area. over the weekend, hundreds marched for blocks through downtown st. louis. there's a sit-in occupation outside the ferguson police station and a much larger gathering at st. louis university where, according to msnbc's tremaine lee, more than 1,000 people showed up. the st. louis police have kept their distance and avoided the big confrontation we saw in august. but what's being called ferguson
october, there's a tension, a divide between the different generations of activists and protesters on the scene. and last night in a remarkable moment, that division cracked open when young protesters demanded that older protesters listened to what they had to say. >> for us, this is not an academic issue, and i said this a few weeks ago. the people who want to take the time to break down racism from a philosophical level, y'all did not show up. [ applause ] when the tanks and armored trucks was there and the tear gas was there and we was getting hit with the rubber bullets and
we said, i can't stay home for this. i can't stay home for this! they killing us. literally. missouri is the new mississippi. >> joining me now, trymaine lee, who has been in ferguson since michael brown's death. this weekend has seen a kind of expansion of the scope of all this. it's striking to me how much that initial protest in august focused on ferguson on the dynamics of ferguson and the racial makeup of the police there. what we're seeing now is something that's overtaken the entire st. louis metro area. >> reporter: that's correct. what you saw earlier, the moral monday style protest, kind of the throwback where clergy presented themselves to the police in the make of mike brown. after that, you saw groups at the walmart. i was at city hall earlier where they hung up banners and demanded to see the mayor. i stopped over at steve
stanger's fund-raiser. more than just what we saw in front of the police station weeks ago, it's spread across the region in a remarkable fashion. >> if you're the mayor of st. louis or the st. louis police, you understand there is going to be no walling this off as this plays out in the future with the grand jury still deliberating about possible charges against the officer in question. this is an issue now for st. louis metro police and it's been interesting to watch the police respond tactically to the protesters in a kind of back and forth that's been playing out in numerous different confrontations. what have you gleaned from that? >> law enforcement learned a lot from the first few days when michael brown was killed when there was chaos on both sides. the police weren't sure what they were doing, the protesters were angry. i've talked to many protesters,
and they said the police officers in st. louis city would stand back, they would beat their night sticks on their shin guards, and they described an ambush. so the tactics that are being employed now are different than those crazy days. it's much more tactical on both sides. on the police side, they're not as random and the protesters are more intentional about their efforts. >> i thought the interface service last night i believe it was, you know, there is just this raw frustration, this anger and it's a frustration directed at not only the police, the institutions in pouter locally but a broader sort of leadership class that a lot of folks on the street in ferguson don't feel like are serving them, are sufficiently militant and agitated over what they're seeing. i thought that moment was remarkable. you were there at the service. what was it like?
>> i think you don't look too far to see any previous civil actions with a young carmichael or a young john lewis with the freedom riders. they don't have much patience. you lock at all these young, emerging leaders and they don't have time to talk to a clergy member or retired postal worker. they were here 65 days getting fired at with rubber bullets and the tear gas. i talked to torrey russell, who delivered this fiery speech last night. he said, they come down here now and tell us how to organize and take action in the street. but we've been taking action for 65 days. they pointed to one prominent civil rights leader to came to town trying to offer training on civil disobedience and nonviolent protests and she's getting paid for that. that frustrated him to no end.
>> there's some polling out that shoals how wide the racial gap is in metro st. louis. this is polling, 600 st. louis residents. when asked if the shooting of the teen was justified, 62% of whites said it was, along with 35% of blacks. you see a 30-point margin there. how palpable is that on the street there? >> it's palpable, but on the other hand it's kind of an invisible line. these protests have grown more diverse, but you're not seeing white members of the ferguson community out here. you're not seeing counter protests. everyone is at bay. the marker had been those i love ferguson signs, which was an indicator you weren't on the side of the protesters. it's not that you see the dividing lead between the community and the police. i'm sorry, the community and the protesters, but the white law enforcement officers seem to be
by proxy an extension of the white community here. that's where you see the remaining tension. >> trymaine lee, thank you. he called the waybill maher talked about easy ham bigoted. that's next. so we quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. expanded minuteclinic, for walk-in medical care. and created programs that encourage people to take their medications regularly. introducing cvs health. a new purpose. a new promise... to help all those wishes come true. cvs health. because health is everything. c♪s health. who's going to do it? who's going to make it happen? discover a new energy source. turn ocean waves into power. design cars that capture their emissions. build bridges that fix themselves. get more clean water to everyone. who's going to take the leap? who's going to write the code? who's going to do it? engineers. that's who. that's what i want to do.
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children from the area yazidi. >> in recent days, men, women and children have fled for their lives, and thousands are hiding with little but the clothes on their backs. earlier this week, one iraqi cried to the world, there is no one coming to help. well, today america is coming to help. >> the president cited the plight of the yazidis. he authorized targeted air strikes against isis and humanitarian operations to aid them. and now in their new pro-slavery web magazine, isis cites religious justification, because it may cut down on the sin of adultery. i'm not making that up. which further cements the notion isis militants are the most monstrous interpreters of
religious text, but in addition, publishing a justification for sexual enslavement is adding fuel to the fire. it's a debate that's been gathering steam in this country in light of isis' atrocities and one which has me taste sized into a big contentious fight about political islam and what the world's 1.6 billion muslims believe or don't believe. what they condemn or don't condemn. this came to a head on bill maher's show. one other person, who's been thrust to the center of this debate, is a religious scholar. he appeared on cnn to rebut the bill maher take. >> so reza, you don't think the justice system in muslim countries you don't think is more primitive or subjugates
women more than in other countries? >> did you hear what you just said? you said in muslim countries. in indonesia, women are equal to men. in turkey, they've had more female representatives, more female heads of states than we have in the united states. >> and in pakistan -- >> stop says things like muslim countries. >> he argues that bill maher is not the only one getting it wrong when it comes to understanding islam, writing -- >> he's been on this show before. i've argued with him about faith and atheism. tonight he joins me to talk about how he thinks people of faith, including muslims, get it wrong. plus, i'll ask him to respond to the cable news host who accused him of playing the race-religion card. that's next.
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we call that predictable. thrillingly predictable. stop saying things like muslim countries. >> women are still being -- >> and that's a problem for pakistan, you're right. let's criticize pakistan. >> he was playing a little bit of the race religion card on you guys. you're calling them all bad. >> his tone was very angry. he wound up kind of demonstrating what people are fearful about when they think of the faith in the first place, which is the hostility of it. >> joining me now that very man whose tone was recently described as angry, reza aslan. always struck me as a happy go lucky individual. >> i promise i'll do my best not to scare you with my tone. >> what did you think of this whole thing? i sort of watched the thing with some morbid curiosity.
and particularly that last comment from chris on snen that your tone exemplified the anger that makes feem fear islam. >> i think people in mooinority religions have heard that comment a lot. when you are confronted with some kind of generalization or bigoted comment and then you respond to that generalization or bigoted comment with passion. i was quite passionate in that interview. then it's thrown back in your face. ah-ha, you proved what we've always thought about you, which is that your people are angry or scary or irrational. it really was an embarrassing moment for chris cuomo, i have to say. >> a bit of a conflation happening. i've been catching flack for it myself of race and relegendion. when ben affleck said that's gross and racist, people say, is islam a race and there are white muslims and south asian muslims
and black muslims, right? so what are you getting at when you're talking about racism sort of showing itself in relation to this conversation that's happening about the faith of islam? >> well it is the incorrect word to use, no doubt. you can use bigotry, islamophobia, xenophobia. because for most people islam is a middle eastern or an arab thing, despite the fact that arabs make up something like 17%, 18% of the world's muslim population, the issue of race has sort of become married to the larger issue of religion. when bill maher says something to the effect of those american muslims are bringing that, quote, desert stuff into our country, there is something deeply racist about that comment. it's not just an anti-religious comment. >> anti-desertist. >> that's good. >> so there's a bunch of
different strands around this. i thought your op ed was remarkably clear headed about this. i want to cite this poll that bill maher and sam who was on bill maher built a lot of this around. a pew research poll conducted in 2013 of different views. this is views of egyptian muslims. 74% say sharia should be official law. that's sort of ckoraniccally defined law. and 86% favor death penalty for converts. now that's a troubling polling result. i think both you and i would agree, right? >> the second number is a troubling poll result. the furst one, you have to understand that those very -- that very same poll showed that of that 70 something percent there was a massive diversity of views of what they even meant by sharia law. talking about marriage and divorce laws and inheritance
laws and penal laws. it's incredibly frightening until you read the rest of the poll where in 75% of egyptians also wanted religious freedom. if that's sounds like a contradiction, it is because religion and religious lived experience is full of contradictions. so 64% wanting the death penalty, that's scary. but, of course, in neighboring tunisia, it's about 12% in, let's say, lebanon, it's 1 in 6. in turkey, it's 5%. so the larger issue is can you look at a scary poll of a place like egypt, the largest arab country in the world and use that to make some sort of broad generalizations about the lived experience of 1.6 billion muslims all around the world? you can't. here's the problem. what i think maher and harris are getting at is they want to
condemn beliefs. frankly if you are some kind of ultra orthodox muslim who believes every word of the koran as literal and that gays are going to hell and that anyone who converts should be killed, i don't really have a problem with you as long as it's justior belief. i don't care what you believe. it's actions we should be focusing on. we need to condemn actions, not beliefs because you can criticize beliefs. >> i think if you -- i think it's fine to condemn beliefs actually, but the more germane issue is the one you raise that people saying they are a relodge is as much about identity. the perfect example of this is the catholic church. i was raised a catholic. i'm catholic means something. does it mean that you check off every part of the catechism. every instance of -- >> the entire apostolic creed. >> every instance of
nonprocreative sex is something that you should rot in eternity for hell? no. i thought the pope today in this document that came ot from the church brought out how much lived reality of relegendion and the belief system and the tone is what religion really is in the guts of it more than what you answer to a poll. >> that's right. there is a fundamental misunderstanding about the difference of a religious text and the lived experience of a religious community. and that's what a lot of the simpalistic knee-jerk of releger religion gets. you can scour the scriptures and say, ah-ha, that's the religion except for the people that live this religion, some of them agree with that savagery. some of them don't. some just ignore it. some interpret it away. some focus on other aspects of the scripture. religion is an infinitely diverse experience. and the catholic experience is a great one. i was trained by jesuits.
>> they are the best in the entire world at weeding out bad stuff in text. reza aslan. >> and also evolving to the social situation of the world in which they see themselves. >> the book was called "for the record." and even before page one of the book, in the forward of the book, the author made clear that he had tales to tell and the tales that he had to tell were going to make the president of the united states very unhappy. so in the forward of the book, he said this. because actions that would otherwise bewilder the reader, cannot be understood in its absence, i have revealed in this book what was probably the most closely guarded domestic secret of the reagan white house. okay, may, 1988. the book was called "for the record." the author of the book had bee